Gum disease, often known as periodontitis, is a dangerous inflammation of the gums. It's brought on by bacteria that have accumulated on your teeth and gums. Your bones and teeth may be harmed as periodontitis advances. The damage can be stopped if periodontitis is treated early and adequate oral hygiene is maintained.
Stages of Periodontitis
Gingivitis, or gum inflammation, is the first sign of periodontitis. When you brush or floss your teeth, your gums may bleed. This is one of the early indicators of gingivitis.
Your teeth may also show signs of discoloration. This is referred to as plaque. Plaque is a bacterial and food debris deposit on your teeth. Bacteria are always present in your mouth, but they only become hazardous when certain conditions allow them to multiply rapidly. If you don't brush, floss, or receive dental cleanings on a regular basis, this could happen.
Early periodontal disease
Your gums recede, or pull away, from your teeth in the early stages of periodontitis, and small pockets form between your gums and teeth. Bacteria can be found in these pockets. As your immune system fights the infection, your gum tissue begins to retreat. Brushing and flossing will almost certainly result in bleeding, as well as possible bone loss.
Moderate periodontal disease
If you let moderate periodontal disease advance, you may feel bleeding, pain, and gum recession around your teeth. Your teeth will begin to loosen and lose bone support. An inflammatory response may occur throughout your body as a result of the infection.
Advanced periodontal disease
The connective tissue that supports your teeth in place begins to disintegrate as the condition progresses. Your gums, bones, and other supporting tissue are all destroyed. You may have significant discomfort while chewing, severe bad breath, and a foul taste in your mouth if you have advanced periodontitis. It's very likely that you'll lose your teeth.
Symptoms of Periodontitis
Symptoms vary depending on the stage of the disease, however, they typically include:
- Gums that bleed when you brush your teeth or floss.
- Bad breath.
- Changes in the position of your teeth or loose teeth.
- Receding gums.
- Red, tender, or swollen gums.
- Buildup of plaque or tartar on your teeth.
- Pain when chewing.
- Tooth loss.
- Foul taste in your mouth.
- Inflammatory response throughout your body.
In the early stages of periodontitis, the symptoms are generally subtle. Your dentist will almost certainly be the first to notice them.
During a routine dental examination, your periodontist will be able to spot early signs of periodontitis. They can keep track of your periodontal health over time to ensure it doesn't deteriorate. This is why it's critical to have your teeth checked by a dentist on a regular basis.
To measure any pockets on your gums, your dentist may use a probe, which is a small ruler. Typically, this exam is painless. If plaque, tartar, or both are found on your teeth during a professional cleaning, your dentist will remove them. They may also take dental X-rays or refer you to a periodontist, who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of gum disease.
Oral hygiene practices
Your dental care team will provide you information on how to maintain your teeth and gums clean in order to limit the quantity of bacteria in your mouth. Your dentist will instruct you on how to properly use toothbrushes and dental floss, as well as other oral hygiene items such as a water pick or mouthwash.
Here are some suggestions for keeping your teeth in good shape:
- Brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste twice a day.
- Consider replacing your toothbrush with an electric toothbrush, which may be more effective.
- Plaque can be removed by flossing at least once a day.
- Visit your dentist for a professional cleaning at least twice a year.
- Avoid Tobacco in any form.
During a professional cleaning, your dentist will remove plaque and tartar buildup from your teeth and their roots, polish them, and fluoridate them. To allow for healing, any periodontal pockets that have formed may require extensive cleaning. Scaling and root planing is a deep-cleaning technique that scrapes off tartar and removes any rough places on the tooth root where bacteria like to congregate.
Antibiotics may be prescribed by your dentist in some circumstances to aid with persistent gum infections that haven't responded to cleanings. The antibiotic could come in the form of a mouthwash, gel, tablet, or capsule that you take orally.
If irritation develops in areas that are difficult to reach with brushing and flossing, your dentist may offer flap surgery to remove deposits under your gums. Your gums are lifted and the roots of your teeth are cleaned while you are sedated. After that, your gums are sutured (sewn) back in place.